What is enquiry-led learning?
Our enquiry-led curriculum makes learners curious about the world around them, encouraging them to make sense of it all by asking probing questions and by taking risks in discovering answers. It provides a valuable context for their learning, connecting learners as local citizens of today with the ideas, knowledge and skills they will need as the global citizens of tomorrow. Initially, learning reinforces personal identity and the present day to create self-aware individuals; it then connects the learners to the immediate environment/community/country and finally to abstract themes such as tolerance or culture on a global scale: from ‘Me’ to ‘Everyone’ The National Curriculum content is taught through ‘Key Questions’ that are too big to answer in one go, but not so conceptually large that the learners do not understand.
The Enquiry-Led Journey
Children are guided, through a scaffolded process, to answer a series of ‘mini questions’ which together combine to answer the initial ‘Key Question’ through an ‘End Challenge’. When answering both ‘Mini and Key Questions’, learners will have a wide range of learning opportunities: to make links between areas of learning; to develop transferable skills, to be organised and think critically when problem solving; to collaborate and learn to reflect, finding ways to share their progress with a wide range of audiences; to be immersed in rich vocabulary and feel confident to communicate their ideas; to learn from their mistakes, be resilient and challenge themselves; to be proud of their local environment and think on a global scale; to work effectively both individually and as part of a team; to show empathy towards others and support their peers; and to embrace diversity, be different and stand up for the rights of others. Each enquiry can last between one and eight weeks, finishing with an ‘End Challenge’ such as a performance, debate, experience or piece of writing. End Challenges are varied in design and involve a range of skills and audiences allowing the learners’ understanding to be assessed.
States of Being
As part of the enquiry-led curriculum, children enter various states of being to immerse themselves in specific roles and better understand the purpose of the work they are engaging in. This encourages them to master both the ‘know of’ and ’ know how’ of a subject e.g. to be historians and not just to learn about history. This allows the learners to use their skills and knowledge actively between subjects rather than learning subject specific skills, knowledge and content. An example being that children can apply the data analysis skills learned as mathematicians to identify trends or patterns in the results collected from an investigation as a scientist.
States of being are well established and routinely referred to throughout our school on visual timetables, termly planning and newsletters, school displays, flipchart slides, in our assemblies and in books. Each state of being is characterised to help the children understand what it means and to also challenge stereotypes around them.
Enquiry Key questions have both lead and supporting States of Beings which allow the children to become Geographers, Scientists, Musicians, Authors Readers and Writers, Philosophers, Mathematicians, Artists, Engineers, Historians, Linguists and Athletes.
Within each classroom, the enquiry-led journey is displayed together with the States of Being, Key and Mini Questions, End Challenge and vocabulary on a working wall.